Stellantis announced on Friday that it will indefinitely shut down its Jeep Cherokee factory in Belvidere, Illinois early next year in what the UAW denounced as a “grossly wrong” decision.
In a statement, the automaker cited a number of factors that influenced its decision.
“Our industry has been adversely affected by many factors such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the global microchip shortage, but the most impactful challenge is the cost associated with electrifying the automotive market. “Stelantis is taking many steps to stabilize production, improve efficiency at our North American facility, and maintain quality affordability and customer satisfaction,” Stellantis said in a statement. While Stellantis is considering other measures to optimize its operations, Stellantis has decided to shut down its Belvidere assembly plant, effective February 28, 2023.
The company said the workers would be laid off indefinitely, but said it would “make every effort” to place them in other full-time positions as soon as vacancies became available. We are also working to identify other opportunities for reuse.”
The future of the plant could be one of the key issues in contract negotiations with the UAW next year.
UAW President Ray Currie said in a statement: “I am convinced that Stellantis has been very misguided by idling this factory that has been profitable for the company since 1965. “It is unacceptable not to allocate new products to a factory like Belvidere. Announcing its closure just weeks after the holidays is also a cruel disregard for the contributions of our members from UAW Locals 1268 and 1761. We will fight back against this announcement.”
The factory’s fate was uncertain for some time as workers faced downtime and numerous layoffs.
“We are all deeply upset by Stellantis’ decision to shut down the Belvidere assembly plant without future product plans,” said Cindy Estrada, UAW vice president for the Stellantis division, in a statement. there is,” he said. “We have many vehicle platforms imported from other countries that can be built at Belvidere with skill and quality by Belvidere UAW members. Companies receive billions of dollars in government incentives to transition to clean energy.It is an insult to all taxpayers not to invest that money in our communities.”